It can almost feel impossible to avoid some kind of delay when traveling by air nowadays. Whether it's due to a labor negotiation between United Airlines and its pilots, or the typical weather delay, flying can be a real hassle. Most of us are happy to suck it up and smile through the challenges, knowing that friends, family, or at least a warm bed await us at the end.
But what about when things go even more wrong? Has the Airline lost your luggage? Did they oversell your flight and bump you from the flight and a family get-together? Do they owe you a refund but won't pay up? This guide will explain how to sue United Airlines to get recompense for whatever injustice you have experienced.
And check out our guide on the worst airlines in America (2022) to improve your chances the next time you decide to travel.
What to Know About Suing United Airlines
United Airlines can be sued for $15,000 in their home state of Delaware in small claims court. In another state, it can be as much as $20,000.
People often reach out to us and ask about suing the company for:
- oversold flights and getting bumped from a flight.
- lost or delayed delivery of your luggage.
- breach of terms under its contract of carriage.
- refusals to honor refund policies.
- damaged luggage.
- flight delays.
Experiencing one of these listed events can be frustrating but when they compile? You want justice. And while you can contact customer service, there are also other ways to recover what you are owed.
Consider filing a small claim case with Dispute. Our software makes it easy to send a demand for payment letter from your phone or computer. And if that fails, we’ll help you get your voice heard. You can show you’re serious by filing a small claims case. You won’t need a lawyer for small claims either, so don't worry about the excess cost.
The first step of suing United Airlines in Small Claims Court
The first thing you should consider when suing United Airlines is that you are suing the right legal entity. Large companies often own many smaller companies that are interconnected. So, be sure to look over the terms of service and contracts you signed with United Airlines for any other businesses they mention. By bringing a lawsuit against the wrong company, you run the risk of having your case dismissed in court. That can be an expensive lesson to learn if you're asked to refile in another court or with new information.
In many cases, the legal name of United Airlines is United Airlines, Inc. but be sure to double-check!
Is a Lawyer Required in Small Claims Court?
One of the easier things about small claims court is that lawyers aren’t usually required. This may make the small claims process less intimidating and more affordable. But, still, the small claims process can get complicated. Consider filing through Dispute, as we simplify the small process with our software.
It's never a bad idea to get legal advice from a lawyer. You can speak with a lawyer and ask for help with your small claims. But check your local small claims laws before you bring your lawyer to court. They may not be allowed to join you during the trial.
Is Small Claims the Only Option?
You can message through customer support, or social media, or talk to agents in person. But if you feel that they aren’t taking you seriously, small claims are another avenue to get your voice heard.
Finding United Airline's Registered Agent
The registered agent of United Airlines in the state of incorporation is:
See below to find the registered agent for United Airlines in your state.
If you’re suing United Airlines in another state, then you might need to name a different registered agent. You can always send a demand letter to The Corporation Trust Company in Delaware no matter what state you’re filing in.
Their address is:
United Airlines, Inc.
THE CORPORATION TRUST COMPANY
CORPORATION TRUST CENTER 1209 ORANGE ST
WILMINGTON, DE 19801
How to Write a Demand Letter to United Airlines
A demand letter is a formal letter asking for payment. Strongly worded demand letters on professional letterhead have a better chance of reaching a settlement out of court than regular letters. At Dispute, you can generate a demand letter in minutes.
- On the top, in the address block, put in the company name and address. You can find the registered agent at the bottom of this page.
- Next, put the subject line as 'Re: Demand for Payment
- In one sentence, tell them how much United Airlines owes you which you will claim in your small claims lawsuit.
- Then, in a few sentences describe your issue.
- Finally, write in plain language that you will go to small claims court if necessary.
- Don't say that you will do anything else, such as speaking poorly about them.
- On the bottom, include your name and address
How to Send a Demand Letter to United Airlines
After you write the demand letter to United Airlines, you’ll want to send it to their registered agent so that it’s guaranteed to go to the legal department. It's helpful to send it in a way that has a tracking number. Proof that it was sent and reached them can become important evidence in your case.
Demand letters are often mailed. But if you don’t have time to find a printer, buy an envelope, and visit a post office - we can generate it, and mail it on your behalf. Send your demand letter with just a click from the comfort of your home.
File your small claims forms against United Airlines
If United Airlines does not pay you after receiving the demand letter, you can file a small claim to get your money back. Although this can be complicated, small claims is at least simpler than most other courts. There are some county guidelines you’ll have to follow, but filing with Dispute can make it easier for you.
You’ll want to find and prepare your small claims form based on where you decide to sue. Usually, people sue where the defendant lives or does business. Then, wherever you decide to sue, look up the county's small claims rules. They’ll provide details on their website about what small claims forms are necessary. You can read more about the small claims process here.
Serve your small claims paperwork to United Airlines
One of your final steps before the hearing will be to physically provide the small claims paperwork (returned from the court) to United Airlines. That is called "serving" or the defendant's service.
It's important to know that you are not allowed to serve the defendant yourself, but you can find someone else to do it. A lot of people hire professional process servers or their local law enforcement. It's important to know that with service there are legal guidelines that you must follow so that your case can go to court.
Defendants may sometimes avoid service. In order to keep your court date, you should consider hiring a professional process server so that you can be sure all legal guidelines are appropriately followed.
Go to your Hearing against United Airlines
On the day of your small claims hearing, you'll want to arrive early and well-prepared. Bring three copies of all the evidence you want to present, and if your hearing is remote, reach out to the court clerk to find out how you can provide those documents in advance. Like with filling out the paperwork, and serving the other party, breaking the rules of the court can result in your case being dismissed.
How Much it Costs
So how much will you spend by suing United Airlines in small claims court?
- Court Filing Fees: The amount you will pay to file a small claims lawsuit depends on how much you are suing for and where you are suing. You can expect to pay between $30 to $400 to file the lawsuit. If you cannot afford to pay court fees, you can ask the court to waive the fees.
- Serving Costs: Once the lawsuit is filed, you must notify United Airlines that you have sued them. This is called "serving." Serving Costs can range from $20-100 depending on the local area.
Remember, if you win, you can request that United Airlines pay for your court fees and serving costs.
The Benefits of Small Claims Court
- Court filing fees are cheaper in small claims than in other courts.
- The process is faster in small claims than in other courts, as your hearing will usually be scheduled 30-70 days after you file the lawsuit.
- Lawyers are generally not allowed in small claims, which helps keep the costs of suing low.
Taking the First Step in Your Lawsuit
If all of this work seems complicated or daunting, rest assured that it's easier than it initially seems. 2.7 million small claims court cases are filed annually in the US, which is only growing as more people realize how easy it is to enforce their legal rights in court.